In an airport environment, there are various factors that can impact operations. But, when looking at baggage, the return process typically works like this:
- The GTAA assigns baggage belts and carousels to an airline, just like a gate or a check-in desk. After being assigned carousels, the airline will use them to serve their passengers.
- Bags are handled by baggage handlers, either as direct employees of an airline or as third-party handlers that are contracted by an airline.
Baggage handlers work in groups and each group is scheduled in shifts. When they’re working, they receive a schedule of arriving aircraft that they need to unload. They meet each flight on arrival, unload the hold of the aircraft, and bring those bags to a room underneath the baggage hall. From there, the bags are loaded onto the conveyor belts that carry items up into the baggage hall and back to you.
On a normal day, bags from different flights are spread out onto different carousels. However, flights can land off-schedule and overlap. In other instances, baggage handling crews can be affected by staff shortages. These conditions all affect the speed at which baggage handlers can safely operate and return passengers’ luggage.
Putting bags from multiple flights on one carousel is an option that allows baggage handlers to continue working safely and effectively to unload aircraft and return bags to passengers in the baggage hall.
We know that this can create additional work for passengers to identify their luggage. This choice is made to let baggage handlers return luggage to passengers faster, allowing you and your fellow travellers to get to your destination as quickly as possible.